BURNET — When Burnet 7-Eleven manager Patty Sharkey read in a company newsletter that a Los Angeles 7-Eleven had beaten her store’s record for one-day pizza sales, she knew it was time to cook up a new strategy.
That’s easy to understand. Up until Feb. 8, when the Los Anglese store sold 123 pies, Sharkey and her employees had held the nationwide 7-Eleven record for single-day pizza purchases with 113.
PHOTO 1: Burnet 7-Eleven manager Patty Sharkey makes pizzas numbers 105, 106 and 107 Wednesday in an effort to break a one-day sales record set by a Los Angeles 7-Eleven store Feb. 8 — 123 pizzas. The Burnet operation set the previous record Dec. 9, 2009, with a 113 pizzas sold in a 24-hour period. The Burnet staff and community weren’t about to be outdone by their Los Angeles rivals, and went after the record again today. The time span of eligibility is 12:01 a.m. -11:59 p.m. Staff photos by Daniel Clifton
PHOTO 2: A sign in the Burnet 7-Eleven outlines the store’s goal to reclaim the record for most pizzas sold in a day for the nationwide chain. The Burnet store set the record Dec. 9, 2009, but was surpassed Feb. 8 by a Los Angeles store following an appearance by company CEO Joe DePinto on ‘Oprah.’ At noon Wednesday, the Burnet 7-Eleven had sold 108 pizzas with almost 12 hours left in the alloted time.
The Burnet store, 109 W. Jackson St., set the previous record Dec. 9, 2009.
“We had held the record up to that point,” she said. “(The Los Angeles record was set) the same day the CEO, Joe DePinto, was on ‘Oprah.’ And they even got a big write-up with their picture in the newsletter.”
And it wasn’t just Sharkey who was a little bewildered by the new record. Two of her employees — Theresa Franklin and Jamie West — took the news a bit personal as well.
“This is a pretty big deal,” Franklin said.
Despite Los Angeles having more than 4 million people compared to Burnet’s 4,700, the City of Angels convenience store could only muster 10 more pizzas. The Burnet crew knew they couldn’t just sit back and let Los Angeles rise to the top.
So they began to put the word out, letting customers know that on March 31, the Burnet store would try and reclaim the record.
Sharkey said each whole pizza sold from 12:01 a.m.-11:59 p.m. Wednesday counts toward the record.
“We’re doing pretty good,” she said Wednesday around noon while pulling one pizza out of the oven before shoving in another one. “I think we’re up to 107 with this one.”
Franklin said winning the contest is a matter of civic pride.
“This is Burnet taking on Los Angeles,” she said. “This can really help put Burnet on the map.”
Customers have a choice between cheese or pepperoni pizzas with a few fixings from the condiment bar thrown in. It only takes about 90 seconds from the moment the frozen pizza goes into the oven to be ready.
“It’s been pretty crazy in here,” Sharkey said.
Franklin said she expected the Burnet store to break the record simply because of its loyal customer base.
“This store values its customers, and they really value us,” she said. “It’s like a family.”
Though the Burnet store doesn’t get the foot traffic the Los Angeles store does, Burnet customers make up for that with a lot of pride, Sharkey said.
“We have an average of 700 customers a day,” Sharkey said. “That LA store averages about 1,700 customers a day. But our customers are really a part of this.”
7-Eleven is a one of the originators of the convenience-store concept, going back to 1927 when it was Southland Ice Co. in Dallas and sold a few items such as milk, eggs and bread on Sundays and evenings after grocery stores had closed.
Today, 7-Eleven has more than 6,900 stores across the United States and Canada. Originally called “Tote’m” because people “toted” their items away, the store name was changed to 7-Eleven in 1946 to reflect the new hours of operation from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. However, today many of the individual units are open 24 hours a day.
The three Burnet 7-Eleven employees working Wednesday didn’t have any doubts they’d break the record. Franklin said they expect the same coverage from the company’s newsletter that the Los Angeles store received.
And just as the clock struck noon, Sharkey pulled out another pizza.
“That’s 108,” she said.